I've shared this story before, but it feels like something I ought to share again in memory of my dear mother. I had great parents--not perfect parents, but real parents who in spite of their human flaws and limitations never gave me a single reason to doubt their love.
My mother was born a year before women got the right to vote in these United States in a small town in far western Oklahoma. She was the second child of nine. Her mother was a homemaker who taught her how to make the most amazing meringue topped pies on the planet. Her father was a stone mason who supervised the building of the foundation of the courthouse in Hobart, Oklahoma among a life time of other civic and private works. And just like me, my mother loved her family and her friends.
Every year at Christmas time, she would set up her prized sewing table and instead of removing the trap door in which to insert her Singer sewing machine (perhaps you've seen one of the these mid-twentieth century wonders), or spread out a jigsaw puzzle for us to work on during the long cold winter months and rare Michigan school snow days, or even for the occasional, random Canasta marathons with my sisters and I; she would lay out her Christmas cards along with the sheets of holiday stamps and address book and blank note pad and cup with a dozen ink pens--and go to work. Starting in early November and continuing until the year's events were completely retold and sent, she would sit at that table and write out her love to dozens of family members and friends. Remember this was before the days of the ubiquitous Holiday "Letter"--that one-pager, mimeographed, then xeroxed, then printed and/or now just emailed generic description of the events of one's life from the previous year. I often wonder what my mom would think of this evolution from a labor of love to a convenience of technology!
By now, you've come to realize that I am but a shadow of her greatness in this respect. And yet, I want you to know that in my feeble attempt in sending out Holiday cards, I am among other things honoring her memory first and foremost. It is her example of a Diaspora "community" that I cherish and am such a benefactor of with the love and grace I know with each and every one of you.
So you see--there is so much more happening behind the fact that you might get a little card from me each Christmas. Here are the places that I sent cards to this year--perhaps yours is among them. Each goes to a friend or relative with the same sincere appreciation and desire for community that my mother first taught me to cherish.